Town of Cortlandt, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cortlandt 4-15-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 215-1 Title, intent and findings of fact.

A. 
This chapter shall be known as the "Peddling, Soliciting and Canvassing Law of the Town of Cortlandt." It is a local law regulating peddling, soliciting and canvassing to preserve the safety, health, welfare, peace and general good order of the town and its inhabitants.
B. 
Findings.
(1) 
It is the intent of the Town of Cortlandt to assure that peddling, soliciting and canvassing in the town is conducted in a safe and peaceful manner without inconvenience to town residents.
(2) 
It is hereby found that to adequately protect motorist and pedestrian safety, it is necessary to regulate peddling and soliciting along state highways within the Town of Cortlandt. These sections of state highways are all heavily trafficked at high speeds. Ingress and egress from the right-of-way and sides of these areas, particularly across traffic, presents an unsafe condition for motorists. In fact, due to potential safety hazards, Subdivision (C) of § 1157 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law prohibits any person from peddling or soliciting from any section of a state highway.
(3) 
However, § 32 of the General Business Law provides, in relevant part, that every honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces of the United States, who is a New York State resident and a veteran of any war, shall have the right to peddle or sell goods upon the streets and highways within the county of his or her residence by procuring a license for that purpose. Thus, for certain war veterans, § 32 of the General Business Law carves out an exception to the rule that no person shall peddle or solicit from a state highway.
(4) 
However, this privilege is purely personal to such veterans and has no application to any associate, partner or employee of the licensee. Moreover, this privilege is further limited by the fact that under Subdivision 8 of § 32 of the General Business Law, any veteran holding a veteran's license is made subject to any local law or ordinance requiring a further application to a city, village or town for the issuance of a local license. While the right to peddle the veteran's wares may be prohibited altogether by such ordinance, the Town Board has decided to reasonably regulate veteran peddling on state highways to assure public safety and welfare.
(5) 
It is hereby found that to adequately protect motorist and pedestrian safety, it is necessary to prohibit peddling and soliciting by war veterans along the following sections of state highways, including any area which requires ingress and egress along these areas:
(a) 
Along Route 6 between the city of Peekskill line at Conklin Avenue and the town line between Yorktown and Cortlandt at Lexington Avenue.
(b) 
Along any portion of the Bear Mountain State Parkway between the City of Peekskill line and Route 202, Crompond Road.
(c) 
Along the southerly section of Route 9 between the Village of Croton-on-Hudson line and the City of Peekskill line at Welcher Avenue.
C. 
This chapter is enacted pursuant to the police power of the town, Subdivision 8 of § 32 of the General Business Law of the state and any and all other applicable laws, rules and regulations of the state. Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to conflict with any such laws, rules or regulations.

§ 215-2 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, certain words used herein are defined as follows:
CANVASSER
Any person who, by going from house to house thereof, predominantly seeks contributions, seeks to raise funds, petitions, solicits memberships, disseminates information or conducts activities which would not be characteristic of a peddler or solicitor.
ESTABLISHED PLACE OF BUSINESS
A building, store or depository in which or where the person transacts business and deals in goods, wares, merchandise or services in the ordinary and regular course of business.
PEDDLER
Any person who, in any street or public place or by going from house to house or from place to place or any combination thereof, on foot or from any vehicle, sells, barters, offers for sale or barter or carries or displays for sale or barter, any goods, wares, merchandise or services. For the purposes of this chapter, the entity which engages a person as their agent for the purposes of peddling is also considered a peddler within the meaning of this section and is subject to the provisions of this chapter.
PERSON
Any individual, including veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States, firm, copartnership, corporation, company, association or joint-stock association, church, religious sect, religious denomination, society, organization of league and includes any trustee, receiver, assignee, agent or other representative thereof.
SOLICITOR
Any person, either principal or agent, traveling either by foot or by any conveyance from place to place, from house to house or from street to street or any combination thereof, who takes or offers to take orders for the sale of any goods, wares or merchandise, for present or future delivery or for the performance of future services, whether or not he or she collects advance payments for such sale or service. For the purposes of this chapter, the entity which engages a person or his or her agent for the purpose of soliciting, is also considered a solicitor within the meaning of this section and is subject to the provisions of this chapter.
STATE HIGHWAYS
Highways within the Town of Cortlandt classified as state highways pursuant to Highway Law § 3(1) and/or designated as such on the official highway-map of the New York State Department of Transportation showing the location of State highways.

§ 215-3 License required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of peddling or soliciting, as defined in § 215-2 of this chapter, without having first obtained and having in force and effect a license therefor as herein provided.

§ 215-4 Exemptions.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to apply to any of the following:
A. 
A sale conducted pursuant to an order of any court.
B. 
A wholesaler selling articles to dealers or merchants who have an established place of business in town.
C. 
Any candidate running for a governmental office, or his or her representatives.
D. 
A child 18 years or age or under who resides within the Town of Cortlandt and who solicits or peddles on behalf of a charitable, religious, athletic, social, educational or civic organization, including but not limited to the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts or Brownie Scouts or clubs, classes or organizations sponsored by a public or private school.
E. 
The peddling of meats, fish, fruit and farm produce by farmers and persons who produce such commodities on their own land, provided that they have otherwise complied with all applicable licensing, health and safety requirements of any other governmental body or agency, as well as the Zoning Code of the town, and the sale takes place from a stationary location upon property owned or leased by the seller or such goods.
F. 
A not-for-profit-organization's sale of food ancillary to a fundraising event, such as a picnic or carnival, that lasts no longer than five consecutive days. This exemption shall not apply to any door-to-door peddling or soliciting.

§ 215-5 Application for license.

A. 
Any person desiring to act as a food vendor or solicitor within the Town shall apply for a license from the Director of Code Enforcement upon a written application to be furnished by the town. Such application shall detail the following:
(1) 
Whether the applicant desires to act as a food vendor, itinerant vendor or solicitor.
(2) 
The kind of goods, wares, food, services or merchandise the applicant desires to sell or solicit to sell.
(3) 
The name, address and age of the applicant and any assistants the applicant proposes to employ.
(4) 
The name and address of the person or entity the applicant represents.
(5) 
In the case of a food vendor, the proposed location of business.
(6) 
The number and description (vehicle identification number and plate number) of vehicles to be utilized by the applicant in carrying on the business for which the license is desired.
(7) 
The length of time the applicant desires the license.
(8) 
If a food vendor, the Westchester County Health Department permit number.
(9) 
Such other information the Town Board or the Director of Code Enforcement may determine to be necessary from time to time.
B. 
The Director of Code Enforcement shall deliver a copy of this chapter to each applicant at the time of application.
C. 
Such application shall be accompanied by three photographs of the applicant, two by two inches in size, taken within 30 days prior to the date of the filing of the application, full face on a white background.
D. 
The Director of Code Enforcement may deny any application for cause, after written notice, for reasons, including but not limited to the following:
(1) 
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the application for the license.
(2) 
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of carrying out the applicant's trade, business or occupation.
(3) 
Prior violation of a peddling or soliciting ordinance or law.
(4) 
Records of breaches of solicited contracts.
(5) 
Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor which, in the judgment of the Director of Code Enforcement or Chief of Police, renders the applicant unfit or undesirable.
(6) 
Carrying out of the licensed business, trade or occupation in an unlawful manner or in such a way as to breach the peace or as to endanger the public health, safety or general welfare.
(7) 
Incomplete application.
E. 
If an application is denied, the Director of Code Enforcement shall notify the applicant, by certified mail at the address indicated on the application, that the application is disapproved and shall deny the applicant a license.
F. 
Upon receipt of a completed application and the requisite fee and upon compliance with all requirements of this chapter, the Director of Code Enforcement shall issue a license to the applicant, specifying the particular business authorized. The dates of the issuance and expiration of the license, as well as the specific nature of the business, shall be set forth on the face thereof.
G. 
Where an organization or entity has more than one agent peddling or soliciting, each agent shall be licensed separately and each shall pay the appropriate fee. Upon the expiration of a license, a new license will be issued upon compliance with all the provisions of this chapter and the payment of fees, except that the investigation and processing period therefor may be waived by the Director of Code Enforcement.

§ 215-6 License fees, exception.

The fee for a license as required hereunder shall be as scheduled below and shall be prorated:
A. 
Food vendor: $150 per calendar year or $100 per six-month seasonal summer period (May 1 to October 31).
B. 
Itinerant vendor and solicitor: $50 per calendar year.
C. 
Daily permits for itinerant vendors and solicitors: $25 per day.
D. 
Provided that such person has completed the application for a license and has net all other requirements as set forth in this chapter for the issuance of a license, there shall be no fee for such license for an honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is the holder of a license issued pursuant to § 32 of the General Business Law of the State of New York.

§ 215-7 Renewal of license.

Licenses are nonrenewable. Each person shall file with the Director of Code Enforcement a complete application as set forth in § 215-5 on a yearly basis.

§ 215-8 Display, transferability and use of licenses.

A. 
The license shall be carried on the person of the licensee at all tines when engaging in peddling or soliciting. A picture of the licensee shall appear on the valid license with the Town Seal imprinted on the same. The inability or refusal of any person to produce such license shall be presumptive evidence that such person is peddling or soliciting without a license in violation of this chapter.
B. 
The license shall not be transferable or assignable. Should a licensee permit any other person to possess or use such license, such license shall automatically be revoked, the licensee shall thereby be guilty of violating this chapter, and no application for a further license may be made for a period of 18 months from the date of revocation.

§ 215-9 Canvasser registration and approval.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of canvasser, as defined in § 215-2 of this chapter, without having first officially registered with the Director of Code Enforcement. Registrants shall complete forms provided by the Director of Code Enforcement which shall require but not be limited to the following information:
(1) 
The name and address of such organization, firm, association, club, corporation or partnership.
(2) 
The name, address, date of birth and social security number of such person(s) who will represent the organization.
(3) 
Two photographs of each registrant, two by two inches in size, taken within 30 days prior to the date of filing of the registration, full face on a white background.
(4) 
The current tax status (i.e., whether tax exempt, not-for-profit, etc.).
(5) 
Proof of registration with the Department of State, Office of Charities Registration, and/or the Attorney General Charities Bureau.
(6) 
Sample literature.
(7) 
The date and state of incorporation, along with a copy of the articles of incorporation.
(8) 
The dates and times canvassing is to take place.
(9) 
A list of streets, roads or neighborhoods where the canvassing is to take place.
B. 
The Director of Code Enforcement may refuse to officially register any canvasser for cause, after written notice, for reasons, including but not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the registration form.
(2) 
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of canvassing activities.
(3) 
Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor which, in the judgement of the Director of Code Enforcement or Chief or Police, renders the registrant unfit or undesirable, except by a vote of the Town Board.
(4) 
Evidence of the carrying out of canvassing activities in an unlawful manner or in such a way as to breach the peace or as to endanger the public health, safety or general welfare.
(5) 
Incomplete registration form.
C. 
Upon receipt of a completed application and the requisite fee and upon compliance with all the requirements of this chapter, the Director of Code Enforcement shall officially recognize the registration of the subject canvasser, specifying the particular canvassing authorized. The date of the recognition and expiration of the registration, the name and specific nature of the canvassing organization and the canvasser's name and photograph shall be included on an identification card to be provided for each canvasser by its canvassing organization.
D. 
Each organization shall renew its registration on a yearly basis by providing the Director of Code Enforcement with a current list of the names, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers of its canvassers, as well as the times, dates and places it intends to canvass and current pictures of each canvasser.

§ 215-10 Regulations and restrictions.

A. 
Licensed peddlers and solicitors and registered canvassers shall not:
(1) 
Enter upon private or public property for the purpose of soliciting, peddling or canvassing before the hour of 10:00 a.m. or after the hour of 8:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday. In the case of motor vehicles selling food, the hours of operation shall be extended from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., June 15 through September 15.
(2) 
Permit any vehicle used in such business to stand or remain:
(a) 
On designated highways in § 215-1A(5)(a), (b) and (c).
(b) 
On any crosswalk.
(c) 
Within 50 feet of any corner, turn or curve in a highway.
(d) 
Within 50 feet of a decrease in lanes of a highway.
(e) 
Within 50 feet of the confines of any intersection.
(f) 
Within 150 feet of any school, church or building in which religious services are held, during school hours or hours of public worship.
(g) 
Within 750 feet of any residential lot line, for lots that contain residential units, within an R-15 District, or within 100 feet of any residential lot actually utilized as a residential property, but not including any residential property which operates as a commercial use under the parameters of the Zoning Ordinance,[1] either as a prior nonconforming use or by virtue of a special permit for food vendors only.
[Amended 7-17-2001 by L.L. No. 6-2001]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 307, Zoning.
(3) 
Call attention to their goods by blowing a horn, by ringing a bell, other than a house doorbell, by shouting or crying or by any loud or unusual noise, except that peddlers of ice cream and ice cream products for immediate consumption are exempted from the foregoing prohibition of the use of a bell. Freestanding signs are strictly prohibited. (Ref: § 197-5, Noise Ordinance).
(4) 
Frequent any street, sidewalk or public place so as to cause a private or public nuisance.
(5) 
Create, erect or maintain any booth or shed or place any barrels, boxes, crates or other obstructions upon any street, public place or private property for selling or exposing for sale any goods, wares or merchandise.
(6) 
A food vendor must confine his business to one location during the term of his permit. Said location must be proposed on his application to the Director of Code Enforcement and noted on the permit as approved at the time of issuance. Such place may not be on public parkland, except pursuant to special permits, as may be required. If a merchant operating an established place of business within 200 feet of said approved location noted on the permit objects to the Director of Code Enforcement that said noted location competes or interferes with said merchant's business, the Director of Code Enforcement shall so advise the food vendor, and the food vendor shall be required to choose a new approval location, which shall be so noted on an amended permit to be issued by the Director of Code Enforcement, at no cost to the food vendor.
(7) 
Peddle, solicit or canvass on private or public property on which is displayed a sign bearing the words "No Peddling, Soliciting or Canvassing" or words of like intent or remain on the premises after the owner or occupant thereof requests their departure therefrom.
(8) 
Resort to deceptive acts or practices, physical abuse, threats, intimidation or harassment in the course of conducting their business or offer for sale any provision, food or merchandise that is unwholesome, unfit or otherwise harmful to the user or consumer thereof.
B. 
Persons peddling or soliciting from a motor vehicle shall not keep or maintain items outside said vehicle, including but not limited to tables, chairs, umbrellas or freestanding signs, except that an umbrella may be attached to said vehicle, and two lidded garbage cans, one for regular trash and one for recyclables, may be kept and maintained outside said vehicle. All vehicles and appurtenances shall be kept in a sound, clean and sanitary condition.
C. 
Such license or registration shall include the right to use only one vehicle or conveyance in carrying out the business for which the person is licensed or registered. Said vehicle shall not have more than two axles nor be larger than 22 feet from front bumper to rear bumper. The use of any type of trailer shall be prohibited.
D. 
All orders taken by a licensed solicitor or peddler or a registered canvasser for which he or she demands, accepts or receives payment or deposit of money in advance of final delivery shall be in writing, in duplicate, stating the terms thereof and the amount paid in advance, and one copy shall be given to the purchaser at the time the deposit or money is paid to the solicitor, peddler or canvasser. Such orders can be taken only in compliance with applicable state law, federal law and Federal Trade commission rulings, and nothing herein shall be taken to waive such restrictions. All applicable sales tax shall be paid pursuant to state and federal laws.

§ 215-11 Seasonal sales.

A. 
Any person desiring a permit to conduct a seasonal sale (i.e. Christmas trees, pumpkins, flowers, etc.) shall submit an application, duly verified by the applicant, upon forms prescribed by the Director of Code Enforcement as set forth in § 215-5. Additionally, the applicant shall submit a proposed location for the proposed sale.
B. 
Seasonal sales shall be permitted only in CC, HC and CD Zones, as those zones are defined by the Town Zoning Code. Such sale sites are subject to the approval of the Director of Code Enforcement, who shall consider, among other things, the traffic, building and fire safety for the proposed site.
C. 
The application must be filed no less than two weeks before the proposed sale is scheduled to begin.
D. 
The Director of Code Enforcement may deny any application or, once a permit has been issued, may revoke any permit, in accordance with § 215-12. Upon such denial or revocation, the person may appeal the decision of the Town Board pursuant to § 215-13.
E. 
The permit shall expire automatically one month after the date of its issuance. The permit shall be nonrenewable.
F. 
The amount of the permit fee shall be $50. Additionally, the applicant shall file, with the Town Clerk, a cleanup bond in the amount of $250, subject to the approval of the Town Attorney. Cleanup of the site must be completed within one week of the conclusion of the sale. Said bond shall be released after an inspection of the site reveals that the site has been left in a clean and neat condition.
G. 
This section shall not apply to a retail establishment conducting a sale at its established place of business in the ordinary course of business.

§ 215-12 Revocation of licenses.

Licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the Director of Code Enforcement for cause after written notice, including but not limited to the same reasons for denying an application listed above in § 215-5D. No refund of an unearned portion of the license fee shall be made.

§ 215-13 Appeals.

Any person aggrieved by the action of the Director of Code Enforcement in the denial or revocation of a license as provided herein may appeal to the Town Board. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the Board, within 14 days after the notice of the action complained of has been mailed, a written statement which sets forth the grounds for appeal. The Town Board shall set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be published in the local newspaper not more than 20 days nor fewer than 10 days prior to such hearing. Such notice shall also be served, personally or by certified mail, to the applicant, licensee or registrant at the address provided on his or her application at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing. The decision of the Town Board on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.

§ 215-14 Recordkeeping.

The Department of Code Administration and Enforcement shall keep a record of all applications, licenses, registrations and revocations hereunder.

§ 215-15 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 or up to 15 days in jail or by a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.
B. 
Each day that such violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such.

§ 215-16 When effective.

This chapter of the Town Code shall take effect in accordance with law 10 days after date of publication.